Vettel blames lack of power for Mercedes gap
Red Bull Racing's German driver Sebastian Vettel drives during the qualifying session at the Spa-Francorchamps ciruit in Spa on August 23, 2014 ahead of the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix - by John Thys
The four-time world champion was 2.126 seconds adrift of pole-man Nico Rosberg and 1.898 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton.
“The reason we're behind is fairly simple," said Vettel. "We know we are down on power. Mercedes can run a bit more wing level, they have more down-force and can still take that wing on the straight – it’s the reason.
“Hopefully tomorrow in the race, we will be closer in race pace and closer than the last couple of races."
Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who qualified fifth, said Red Bull had run a dry set-up in qualifying because it could not afford to compromise straight-line speed with extra down-force.
The Australian said: "We've set the car up for a dry race so, even though we're typically quite strong in the wet, we knew that our set-up would bring us down to the level of some guys around us.
“The gap to Mercedes was pretty big. We thought we'd be able to close it up a bit in the wet. They were quick straight away, and it hurts a little bit, but it's alright.
“An explanation for now is that we've banked a little bit on a dry race tomorrow so we've set the car up for that. In a nutshell, we've taken down-force off for that.
“With the way our straight-line speed is, we need a chance of fighting, moving forward or defending, and that's why we've gone the way we have."